Kansas City Fire Department rescues trapped worker in collapsed trench

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Firefighters rescued a trapped contractor after a trench collapsed near 75th and Monroe in Kansas City, Missouri. The contractor is alert, but is being treated for hypothermia and other injuries.

According to officials, the worker was digging a trench at the East Hills Village Apartments and the walls collapsed. 

The Kansas City Fire Department said the trench was about 10 to 12 feet deep. The worker was about waist-deep in dirt. Crews worked for more than 2 hours to get the individual out. 

“The dirt was probably up to his waist, was not able to break free for fear of the rest of the trench collapsing. We had to do some of those technical things that are needed,” said James Garrett with the KCFD.

Delisha Davis, a nearby resident said the incident was alarming. “Just living over here you don’t want to wake up and have to see that. May heart goes out to him,” she said.

OSHA investigating

OSHA is now investigating Hydro Tech Plumbing of Platte City, the company the injured man worked for.
According to an OSHA spokesman, Hydro Tech does not have any previous OSHA violations.

The incident marks the fourteenth time this year OSHA has received a report of a worker injured in a trench collapse across the country. Twenty-three workers have died in those collapses.

The Kansas City trench was more than ten feet deep. OSHA standards require what they call “protective systems” on trenches deeper than five feet.Those standards also require soil and other materials be kept at least two feet from the edge of the trench.

If OSHA finds violations, the company could potentially face fines. For example, in 2014 OSHA fined Larry Strate Plumbing and Heating.

The company was cited and fined after Brian Allen died in a trench collapse in Lee’s Summit in October 2013 while installing a sewer line.

An OSHA spokeswoman told 41 Action News investigators that Strate Plumbing is still paying off that fine on a payment plan.

OSHA notes one cubic yard of soil can weigh as much as a car, making trench cave-ins very dangerous.
 

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